Chróma, a magazine about colour, is presenting its first ever printed edition this Sunday the 19th of November. This issue will encompass everything red, a colour that has united the photographers, artists, poets and writers that have contributed to these pages. Though slightly overlooked, colour plays a huge part in our everyday perceptions, emotions and creative expressions; the magazine translates this through photography, literature and art.
Emma Phillips, the force behind Chróma, talks to us about the birth of her concept and undergoing the struggles of being a student, a creative and playing all the roles, which creating and managing a magazine requires. Though this first look focuses on red, we’re prepared to flick through the following issues: orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
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The first ever issue of Chróma is being released this month, can you tell us a little bit about the concept of the magazine and how the idea was conceived?
I properly discovered independent magazines two years ago and immediately fell in love. They were a combination of everything I loved: thoughtful writing, beautiful imagery and intelligent design. I thought the best way to get into the industry was to start one myself. It initially began as a local project, with the hope of showcasing my creative friends – however, it blossomed into something entirely different.
With so many new independent publications coming out every year, I wanted to think of something original. Of course, this is extremely difficult. Most issues have a theme that connects the features; immediately, I thought of colour; it seemed quite an obvious link, yet no one seemed to have done it before.
Chróma is a magazine about colour. It takes a colour and explores the themes that come along with it. It’s amazing how inventive you can be, how broad the topics are that you can cover. Red is literal, emotional, social, political and scientific. I like that we are looking at colour in this unusual and unique way.
This issue is all about the colour red. What does red represent for you personally?
Red is strange because it works in both extremes; it can represent both passion and anger. Because it is such a strong, vibrant colour, it has been adopted by humans both politically and socially; this means it can trigger a lot of associations.
Personally, as soon as I think of the colour red, I think of blood. Blood encompasses a lot of things: war, meat, science, life, death and menstruation. Strangely enough, red was one of my least favourite colours. I found it unlikable because it can be associated with a lot of negativity. However, through doing Chróma, I’ve learnt more about the beautiful side of it.
Do you believe that societal connotations control and dictate our physiological perception and preference of colours?
Absolutely. If you think about it, it’s very strange that colour is associated with emotion. Why is blue associated with sadness and red with anger? Blue is cold and red is aggressive. Is it us that have made it this way, or is it intrinsic to the feel of the colour?
As soon as a colour has certain associations, you think about it in a different way. In the West, red may mean anger, but in the East, it is a sign of vitality and fertility. It is the colour of happiness, worn by brides at their wedding and hung in their streets and temples. I think red is celebrated far more in Asia than in Europe. Red is associated with a lot of national and political flags, which I think is a major reason why we give it such a hard time.
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What is your favourite colour and why?
Blue. A lighter, brighter shade of blue. Isn’t that everyone’s answer? There is something about blue that is so soothing.
The magazine will showcase a curated selection of literature, art, and photography. How do you go about choosing what artists to feature and collaborate with?
I spend a lot of time exploring Instagram looking for artists; I then reach out to my favourites. I couldn’t say what it is I look for, Chróma has such an eclectic range of artists involved. I am a huge fan of photography and seem to love all types, from travel to portrait, to still life and fashion. I’ve also built up a strong online blog, which features a range of amazing individuals. I am looking forward to expanding this, as well as working towards my next print.
Regarding writers, I read a lot of literary magazines, my favourite being Structo. I contacted several poets that I found in these publications. I also received at least a thousand submissions, which I got by advertising on writers blogs and social media.
Who is Chróma for?
I am surprised to say that the age range is much broader than I thought. Chróma features an eclectic amount of artists, who will attract many different types of people. There is something for everyone. We feature several amazing artists, who, in the past few years, have been made famous by social media. These names will resonate with the creative youth of today: such as John Yuyi, Laurence Philomene and Ashley Armitage. We also feature artists who have been exhibited globally, for example, Cleon Peterson and Filippo Minelli: whose work has been displayed at Somerset House, for example.
The first issue contains an interview with the director of Cowspiracy, the team at – a global youth-run non-profit organization that strives to provide and celebrate menstrual hygiene through advocacy, education, and service –, and the inspiring poet and filmmaker Greta Bellamacina. Chroma touches upon topics that are important for all generations. It aims to be intelligent, thoughtful and philosophical. It is almost impossible to put Chróma into a category; it is so eclectic.
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As a young creative who is still undergoing higher education, what are the biggest challenges you face in balancing your academic, work, and personal life?
Honestly, it has been a real struggle. I would not say I’ve succeeded in balancing all these aspects; there has been a lot I have sacrificed. Although I would say I can be motivated, I am definitely not disciplined. University is difficult because there is no routine. This often makes it harder for you to manage your time.
I have recently turned twenty-two and am currently in my final year at the University of Sussex. I have taken on Chróma almost single-handedly, with the help of an amazing graphic designer, Stephanie Specht (based in Belgium). This means I have had to fulfil a lot of roles: editor, creative director, interviewer, proofreader, advertising, finance, promoting, distributing, etc. It’s been an enormous amount of work.
At times, I’ve sacrificed having fun and spending time with friends and my partner. However, I also love what I do and am excited for the magazine’s future. I am also excited to have a bit of a break/relief after the launch and focus on the other things that I enjoy: travel writing and photography, among others. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen, because almost immediately I have an essay due!
Have you already defined the next issue’s colour? And if so, what can we expect to see?
Orange! I am going to be incredibly cliché and follow the colours of the rainbow. I love that orange is a really difficult colour. This means I am going to have to be disciplined and do my research. I think it’s going to be a fun colour to play around with. In the next issue, I would like to focus more on philosophy and fashion. I am hoping the success of the first issue will mean that others will be excited to get on board.
Where would you like to see Chróma in 5 years?
I have an idea to create a section in Chróma, online and print, called ‘Conversations’. I want to connect key thinkers of the day and give them the space to talk among themselves about a particular topic. Chróma focuses on intelligent conversation and thoughtful interviews, where we delve into the creatives psyche. I would like my magazine to become known for this: a platform where contemporary art is paired with an essential and interesting discussion. I hope this can then stimulate and change the minds of those who read it.
The first issue of Chróma Magazine will be launched on Sunday 19th November from 6 to 9 pm at ONCA Gallery, 14 St George's Pl, Brighton. For more information, visit the event page.
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